Having just witnessed the Steve Ballmer keynote address at CES I have to admit, I could have given the address. Ballmer spent much of the nearly hour and a half talking about what Windows has accomplished, what’s coming in 2010 and what they hope to achieve on the horizon, the only problem? We’ve heard most of it before.
The night started out with a power glitch which delayed the show by about half an hour, after which Gary Shapiro of CES came out to tout Microsoft products, remind us all a bit about products we already knew about (which is fine he had to set the ton) and then introduce the keynote speaker, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Ballmer then appeared, but not in that rowdy, i’m going to jump around the stage like a madman persona we’ve seen in the past, this time he kept his cool and came out swinging with the persona of a likeable guy we’d expect to play poker with on a Saturday night. Steve then introduced Seth Meyers who actually did a really funny skit about what technology has done for him in which he mocks his own wrongful use of tech, it, in my opinion was unfortunately the highlight of the night. For example he says “Before Twitter, if I wanted to know what a person thought their cat was thinking… I would have been an idiot” and “Video games: before technology, I thought I was better at football than 11 year olds.” It was classic Meyers at his slapstick self.
Next, Steve began to talk about Microsoft achievements, how Microsoft was a combination of 3,000 engineers, 50,000 developers and 8 million beta testers from around the world and how the system has become more streamlined that its predecessors, he then touted the notebooks and netbooks that feature the OS, an impressive array of budget friendly devices and PC Magazines Number 1 Gaming system, then again we’ve heard it all before.
Ballmer also preached about Bing with the zeal of a boy who just discover his fathers playboys, reminding everyone in attendance how well the companies new maps system worked when zooming from satellite to your homes front door view, while mentioning the 11 million new visitors they’ve attracted, again, impressive numbers, but nothing we hadn’t heard in one fashion or another recently. One interesting fact, Ballmer mentioned that Bing will become the default search engine on HP products around the world in 2010.
He then spoke about Fiat Blue Me which is now used in 1 million sold vehicles and he mentioned Ford’s Sync technology which will be discussed by Ford’s CEO Alan Mulally on Thursday morning during his keynote.
Ballmer then went on to display the HTC HD2 which will “debut” on T-Mobile this month and which has been available unlocked for months. While mentioning that a new “HTC device will be out virtually every month in 2010.”
He also talked about the Zune HD and it’s critical success and the various apps it continues to deliver, again we’ve heard it all before.
One thing I found interesting was Microsoft Mediaroom 2.More which is there software that permits pay TV service which according to Ballmer “[Is] provided to millions of customers. I’m happy to announce later this year that AT&T subscribers to UVERSE will be able to enable this on their Xbox consoles.” Very cool indeed.
There was a bunch more info about Silverlight, about Xbox 360 technology and ultimately project natal which is an amazing piece of tech I can’t wait to see more from and which will be available by the 2010 holiday season according to Ballmer.
Honestly, it was hard to get excited during the keynote, unlike the days of Bill Gates showing off cool new tech, there was the air of “let us woo you with what we already have” and not enough info delving into the future of tech.
Overall, not a horrible way to start CES, minus the power issues and WiFi ups and downs, but here’s hoping to more starting tomorrow morning.